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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Liveblog: Olmert announces Israel to surrender to 'public opinion'

The cabinet is still meeting but a 'large majority' is expected to vote in favor of a unilateral cease fire. The unilateral cease fire is expected to leave the IDF in place in Gaza.

The Egyptian news agency MENA reports that Israel responded positively to Egypt's proposal.

Hamas has said that a unilateral cease fire by Israel will not be honored by Hamas and that it will not agree to a single Israeli soldier remaining in Gaza. Will that include Gilad Shalit?


There are demonstrators outside the Defense Ministry calling for Israel not to withdraw from Gaza without Gilad Shalit being freed. Some of the rightwing parties have called for a special session of the Knesset on the issue.


The Prime Ministers of England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain are due here tomorrow on their way back from Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt - formerly Israel) to show support for the agreement. The agreement is an agreement between Israel and Egypt to curb smuggling. It's a farce. For those who need to be reminded why expecting Egypt to do anything is a farce, please allow me to refer you to David Horovitz's column in Friday's JPost. I will try to have more comments on it later - that depends on how long we have to wait for Olmert.


Appropriately, there were just Code Red (missile) alarms in Ashdod and Ashkelon.


The cabinet is now insisting that Gilad Shalit be part of any 'arrangement.' But of course this is not an arrangement. It's one-sided.

More on what's going on tonight here.


This is the 'arrangement':

Olmert and Barak due 'any minute.'

1. IDF to cease fire.

2. Soldiers to stay in place.

3. See what Hamas and Egyptians do.

4. Israel to evaluate the situation.

5. Israel to withdraw troops if situation satisfactory.

This is ridiculous. Our troops are going to be sitting ducks. Hamas says it won't abide by this. Why should our troops sit there and be sitting ducks?


Hamas wants crossing points open. Egyptians not willing to let Hamas be part of running Rafah terminal. Hamas was not part of it in 2005 and Egypt doesn't want them part of it now.

Egypt okay with Rice - Livni agreement from last night so long as it all takes place outside of Egyptian territorial waters. Here are some details of that agreement. [Two more rockets just hit].
In Washington, Israel secured one of its objectives Friday by signing an agreement with the United States designed to help stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Under the pact, signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the United States pledges to help track and thwart smugglers attempting to supply Hamas with rockets and other munitions.

Rice told reporters the agreement would be part of a broader international effort -- including similar arrangements with European countries -- to stem the flow of arms into Gaza.

The U.S.-Israeli deal "should be thought of as one of the elements of trying to bring into being a durable cease-fire," Rice said. A key element, she said, "is to do something about the weapons smuggling and the potential for resupply of Hamas from other places, including from Iran."


Smugglers have eluded the blockade by digging tunnels under Gaza's southern border with Egypt. The Israeli military has said it has blown up hundreds of tunnels in Gaza since the war began Dec. 27, but Israeli officials are worried that smugglers will burrow new routes as soon as the fighting ends. To prevent that, U.S. and Israeli officials have discussed the possibility of constructing an underground barrier along the Egyptian-Gazan border.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack acknowledged that the United States has sent a team from the Army Corp of Engineers to the region to study the issue. In a news conference, he said the U.S. government has committed money as part of the anti-smuggling effort, but he would not say how much.

Livni flew to Washington to sign the deal with Rice, with whom she has formed a close partnership. Livni is a candidate for prime minister in Israel's elections next month and was looking for a political boost, analysts said. One of her main rivals, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has seen his popular support climb since the war began.

Winning a deal in Washington, Israel's closest ally, may have been the easiest part for Israeli diplomats. Egypt has balked at allowing foreigners on its soil to patrol or inspect the Gazan border, though officials in Cairo have said they would welcome more money to help them do the work themselves.
Ironically, as I started to cut and paste this article, Israel Radio started playing a song that says "No one will defeat me so quickly." It used to be the theme song for a program every Friday morning by Adir Zik. Zik was one of the main reasons the government was so anxious to force Arutz Sheva off the public airwaves a few years ago.

More on that later.


Two ministers voted against and one abstained. All the others voted in favor of the unilateral cease fire. Unbelievable.


Olmert to speak first in Hebrew and English and then Barak in Hebrew and English.

Olmert: Three weeks ago, Barak, Livni and I set out the considerations and goals that made us decide to take military action. Today, the conditions for our goals have been completely attained and even more.

Hamas has been hit hard in its military and infrastructure. It will be very difficult for it to transport weapons. They are shooting fewer missiles and most of the launch pads are in the hands of the IDF. The IDF and the GSS ran a tremendous operation. They had incredible intelligence. The operation re-established Israel's deterrence capability.

The reservists proved that the willingness to volunteer still exists. The home front demonstrated its strength in the face of the rockets. It was the home front that strengthened us and enabled us to continue the war.

The government showed unity of purpose and worked together to reach our goals. Decisions were taken after lengthy consideration.

Alongside the successes, we have to remember those who fell. Three southern residents and ten soldiers were killed. We are with them. We hope that those who were wounded will get well soon.

The world now recognizes that the arming of Hamas must stop. Now their strength will decline. Egypt understands that this has to stop. We signed an MOU with the US in which the US will take the required steps to prevent smuggling weapons to Hamas. He plugs Livni (who is a candidate for Prime Minister in three weeks and who has been falling in the polls during the war). Today he got a letter from Brown, Berlusconi, Merkel and Sarcozy who will use their best efforts to make sure that weapons don't reach the murderers in Gaza. Without the operation, this would not have happened.

We left Gaza in 2005 with no intention to return. We found ourselves under a hail of missiles at civilians while Hamas used civilians as human shields and mosques and schools as ammunition dumps. Hamas' leaders who live abroad in luxury continued to adopt an extreme policy and worked for Iran. They were mistaken. They were surprised.

We tried as much as possible not to hurt civilians. We have no dispute with Gaza and we see it as part of the future 'Palestinian' state with whom we hope to live in 'peace.' We allowed the passage of aid to ensure there was no humanitarian crisis. Minister Herzog has been placed in charge of making sure that we transfer humanitarian aid to Gaza over the coming days. Israel will continue to work with the humanitarian aid groups to take care of Gaza's civilians.

Olmert talked to Mubarak today and Mubarak asked for a cease fire and the cabinet has decided to cease fire at 2:00 am (three hours from now). But Hamas is not part of the agreement.

If Hamas decides that it wants to be hit more, it will be hit more. It has been surprised a number of time over the past three weeks. It didn't believe this would happen or its results. If it still doesn't properly assess what has happened to it, it will be surprised again. Don't test us.

I have to mention Gilad Shalit. There is a demonstration for him 100 meters from here and our efforts to free him will continue. We took various steps during the operation that brought his freedom closer but Olmert will not elaborate.

For weeks he has been watching the country. He gives a message of encouragement.

He told Gazans that he feels sorry for them and for their suffering. We all feel sorry for them. He apologizes for the civilians that were hurt because of what Hamas did. The understandings we reached with Egypt and the backing of the US and Europe don't guarantee that the shooting will stop. If it stops, we will withdraw at a time that suits us.

He thanks Barak and the IDF and its commanders and the General Security Service and the Mossad and the police and the rescue services.

Now Olmert will speak in English and you will likely see this on TV abroad, but I won't hear it at all on Israel Radio....


We attained our goals. Due to the unusually good results, and due to the extensive understandings with the Egyptians, Israel has accepted an Egyptian request for a cease fire but our forces remain ready for any development.

I don't want to fool anyone: We don't have absolute security. Hamas may continue to shoot at soldiers and at the home front. IDF will remain in Gaza. If Hamas shoots, we will expand the action to the extent necessary. We went to war only because we had to. When you go to war, you go all out but only responsibly and carefully. That's what we did in Gaza.

There's a limit to patience. For eight years we suffered shooting on civilians. Hamas took over half of the 'Palestinian' people and made them hostages. We prepared the IDF and the security forces for months for this operation.

He summarizes the operation.

We attained more than we expected quickly. Soldiers exhibited determination and ability. They surrounded Gaza City. Over 1200 'Palestinians' were killed including hundreds of Hamas terrorists and their leaders. He salutes Gabi Asheknazy (the Chief of Staff).

He lists the soldiers and civilians who were killed. This was less casualties than we expected, but you can't talk about casualties in terms of the price of war and each of them is a world destroyed. He sends his consolations to their families and wishes the wounded a speedy recovery.

We did all we could to minimize the damage to civilians. Were it not for Hamas' cynicism and its hiding behind civilians, we would not have hurt so many civilians. We warned them to leave the areas under fire as no other army in the world would have done. We sent them humanitarian aid and will continue to do so. We will help to rehabilitate the civilians. This is our finest hour.

We will see Gilad Shalit released.

He thanks Olmert and Livni. He is sure lots of people thank Olmert. There is no doubt. We won't give in to Hamas. He can't say no more wars. There's still Hamas, Hezbullah, Syria, Iran and terrorists worldwide laying in wait for us. We will do all we can to attain peace and quiet for every Israeli.

Barak speaking in English and I have commentary from Israel Radio in Hebrew....


BarOn and Yishai voted against; Rafi Eitan abstained.

Yishai was okay with stopping the ground operation but wanted to continue to operate from the air.

Anyone want to take bets on how long the 'cease fire' will last? There were just two more rockets shot at Be'er Sheva. That makes three there in the last half hour.

Since the announcement started there have been at least six rockets in all.


At 10:48 PM, Blogger The Lone Cabbage said...

Defeat, from the jaws of victory!

How did this worthless scum bag our prime minister? Oh yeah, he promised more unilateral disengagement... Hows that working out?

Two 'disengagements' and two wars. Think 'they' will get the message in the next election? Not holding my breath...

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Butchie! said...

I will call it as it is: Criminal.

The IDF risks their lives, and the government increases that risk.

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I question the timing, with Obama's Coronation on Tuesday. Do you think they stopped because of that, maybe?
Either way, this whole thing is insane. Like you said, a ceasefire means Israel ceases, Hamas fires.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

IDF soldiers are now sitting ducks for Hamas. Olmert, Livni and Barak just placed them in greater danger. I ask for what? They won't tell us!

At 12:13 AM, Blogger Butchie! said...

The thing that irritates me most, is that we had just got through the worst of the pressure. That level of media attention could not have lasted indefinitely. If Israel just stuck with it...

At 12:21 AM, Blogger Just Cause said...


A very valid point - I have noticed in the last couple of days the headlines (in the UK anyhow) have maybe dropped to page 4/5, unfortunately op-eds from every marxist known to man haven't abated.

People have a very short attention span these days, the same thing happened with Iraq. Only when something controversial happened did they bother the masses with it.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel doesn't have a government with distinctively Zionist or Jewish goals. It does not believe in the Land Of Israel. I think Moshe Feiglin predicted Israel would lose this war. He turned out to be right.


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